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Let's shak her Weall is from Dan Wright's small book Aria di Camera of 1726. The words GERMAN FLUTE were the largest on the title page; it was the fashionable instrument of the moment and this was good marketing. But only three copies of the book have survived. It contained Scots, Irish and Welsh tunes; the Scots tunes were contributed by Alexander Urquhart of Edinburgh. All of them fit the flute, but some have a narrower range and may have been intended first for the treble recorder. This tune has a range of only an octave, and would fit the Border bagpipe.

Had away from me Colin was first published in England in the 17th century by Playford as Welcome Home Old Rowley, and was later known in Scotland as Haud Awa Frae Me Donald, Jenny Dang The Weaver, and As I Cam In By Fisherrow; much later it was called The Pigeon on the Gate in Ireland. It's from an unusually simple flute manuscript from the end of the 18th century, obviously compiled by a learner, National Library of Scotland MS.9681. The music, along with a fingering chart, is written in the spare pages of an account book once belonging to the minister of St Ninians near Stirling.

Queensberry House is a reel known from several sources, also under its later title, You're Welcome, Charlie Stuart - this version is from the Knox Manuscript (National Library of Scotland, MS 21717) which was compiled between 1750 and 1764, and which contains material intended for both flute and fiddle; this tune was written in it around 1755. The manuscript is another offbeat piece of paper recycling, with the reverse side containing a map of the rivers of Jamaica, lecture notes on the properties and prices of gemstones, diagrams of how to make sundials and household hints including how to tell the age of a horse.

Three tunes are taken from Daniel Dow's 20 Minuets and 16 Reels of 1773, mainly for the fiddle but which also gives versions of several of its tunes intended for the flute: Miss Vearie Hays Reel, The Bonny Lass of Fisherrow, and Athole House.

Locheil's Awa To France, But He'll Come Again and Salt Fish and Dumplins are from the Museum for the German Flute.

Tapp's Reel is an odd country dance from a book of flute and fife music (NLS MS.21735), in rather slapdash notation, compiled by Lieutenant Tapp of HMS San Jozef in 1805. He just called it Reel; it's known from other sources as The Tank, which George Cameron later said was Russian (in his Universal Tune-Book of 1853). The only plausible meaning for "tank" at the time that would be consistent with a tune title was a fashionable type of ladies' hat.

The bulk of the reels here come from Anderson's Pocket Companion of 1807. The strange Perth Barracks is probably by Anderson himself; the rest, from Capt. Lockhart to The Flaggon, are arrangements of tunes earlier published for the fiddle or dance versions of songs.

Honeymoon Reel is from Andrew Small's manuscript. So is Sleepy Maggy; this simple version is much like the Northumbrian Small Coals and Little Money.

This version of the familiar tune Kate Dalrymple is from a meticulously written anonymous manuscript flute tutor written in Glasgow in 1838-9, in the H.G. Farmer collection at Glasgow University.

Devil Among the Tailors and Stony Steps come from J. Crichton Donaldson's manuscript. The first is a familiar tune, originally called The American Reel in the late 18th century; the other is by James Hill, the Dundee fiddler/composer who spent most of his short drunken life in Gateshead, where the stony steps up the banks of the Tyne must have been a significant obstacle to a man whose legs would often obey the bottle rather than the brain.

Jocky Fou and Jenny Fain, My Love is but a lassie yet, O'er the Muir to Katie, and Watson's Scotch Measure are taken from Alexander Robertson's Caledonian Museum. They are all from the eighteenth century.

The Countess of Sutherland's Reel, by Daniel Dow, is taken from The Edinburgh Repository of Music ... for the German-Flute or Violin, a pocket-sized book of 1816. Most of the book is not specific to the flute, but this is; the more widely reprinted fiddle versions of it are in B flat.

Bonnie Annie (a tune which only makes sense slower than reel tempo) Lenox's Love to Blantyre (from the beginning of the eighteenth century) and Lady Charlotte Campbell's Reel (named after a celebrated aristocratic beauty of the years following 1800) are all taken from the Gows' own flute version of their Repository, published in 1812.

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Old Scottish Flute Music
Copyright © 2003, Jack Campin